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Sky: Lo Celso negotiations between Spurs and Betis “on hold”

Don’t panic. This is Levy being Levy.

Argentina v Venezuela: Quarterfinal - Copa America Brazil 2019 Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images

Tottenham may have wrapped up its biggest ever transfer, £56m plus add-ons for Tanguy Ndombele, but they still have plenty of irons in the fire. One of the biggest is for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, who crashed out of the Copa America last night after Argentina lost 2-0 to Brazil.

There’s breaking news in what has already been a protracted transfer saga over Lo Celso, with Sky Sports now reporting that negotiations between the two clubs for Lo Celso’s transfer are “on hold.”

That sounds bad, but it probably isn’t too much to worry about, at least at this stage. Let’s remember that Lo Celso has a release clause of £88m on his new contract from Betis. Spurs reportedly had a £40m bid rejected by Betis earlier in the window, but there have been numerous reports that the Seville club are hoping for £70m, which would be another Spurs transfer record.

That’s unlikely to happen either. There doesn’t appear to be that many big clubs that could afford a transfer fee of that magnitude that are seriously interested in Lo Celso, and the player has said that he would prefer to move to Tottenham to play under his compatriot Mauricio Pochettino.

This is, like, the sweet spot for a fierce negotiator like Daniel Levy. Now that he’s locked down his top transfer target, he’s free to play the long game with Betis over Lo Celso, and as long as a mega-rich club doesn’t swoop in with an offer that blows everyone out of the water (and that Lo Celso would want to move to), Levy has the upper hand. If Lo Celso is serious about wanting to move to Spurs to play under Pochettino, he can put pressure on his agent to get a deal done.

This might take a while, and nothing in life or the transfer window is certain, but it’s certainly not time to panic over this report. Remember who we’re talking about. Remember what Daniel Levy does. If he’s willing to sit tight and let Betis sweat a while, it usually means that he feels confident that a deal can get over the line. It just might take a while before we see Lo Celso holding up a Spurs shirt.

And if the worst happens and Spurs do decide to move on, there are plenty of Lo Celso like substitutes on the market right now, including Dani Ceballos and Donny van de Beek. At this point, after landing Ndombele, Levy deserves both time and the benefit of the doubt here.